Pinterest. The dark horse of social media. The online platform that, in its two-year history, already has over 11 million registered users—and the highest percentage of female users of any social site.
So, what’s the big deal here? And more importantly, if you’re a business owner, should you care? Should you be adding Pinterest in to your marketing mix? Start pinning up a storm?
Yes, yes, and yes. The big deal is that Pinterest is the fastest growing social site in history, and its retention and engagement stats have been off the hook—in fact, they’re 2-3 times better than Twitter was at this point in its lifespan. And Pinterest currently drives more referral traffic than YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn combined.
Plus, at its core, Pinterest, is an amazingly simple way to get your product in front of millions of eyes. So, if you haven’t already hopped on the wagon, do it now—there’s a good chance your competitors already have.
To get you started, we’ve identified five effective ways companies have been using Pinterest, and how to make them work for you.
1. Use it as a Virtual Store
By pinning its products on boards organized by upcoming holidays and popular categories, Michaels has created a simple, visual way for customers to browse and shop on Pinterest. Better yet, every single page on michaels.com has a “pin it” button, so customers can easily pin items or ideas they see on Michaels’ website to their own boards.
If you don’t have a physical product, try pinning the services you offer or the articles you’ve published, with a link back to your website. And always make sure the page you pin has a photo on it!
2. Give an Insider View of Your Company
Take a look at The Frisky’s Everyday Style Pinterest page—how cool is it that we get a sneak peek into what their employees wear to work each day? Here’s what’s even cooler: Those outfits get put out there in the Pinterverse, and pinned all over with a link back to The Frisky. Get customers and pinners excited about your company by sticking up photos of your employees, the fun company events or parties you throw, or your amazing office space—and aim to show off your brand and what you stand for while you’re at it.
3. Hold a Contest
Homes.com recently launched a contest by asking their followers to create a “Pin it if You Love It” board with at least 10 of their favorite homes pinned from homes.com. Once a user created her board, she was entered to win one of five home improvement gift certificates for $250. Contests are a great way to get users engaged and participating, which can quickly have a ripple effect across the Pinterest network as people share their contest submissions with all their followers.
Tip: If you hold your own contest, create a special hashtag for people to add to their pins so that you can easily track who’s entered.
4. Showcase Your Portfolio
If you’re a photographer, artist, graphic designer, or in any other highly visual field, this one’s a no-brainer: Use Pinterest to show off your work samples or your portfolio. You’ll attract potential customers or clients, plus inspire others in your field.
5. Get Customer Feedback
Daily Grommet has created a board where anyone can pin a product he or she likes, with the possibility that the product will be featured on the Daily Grommet website in the future. Doing this, Daily Grommet gives itself a head start on predicting upcoming trends, seeing what sort of products its customers are looking for, and tailoring its future offerings accordingly. After all, when it comes to asking someone what they want, a picture often says 1,000 words.
Ready to start pinning? Remember one thing: it’s called social media for a reason. Take the time to pin a couple of times a day, so you continuously show up on your followers’ feeds. Also make a real effort to interact with your community, balancing your own pins with repinning, liking, and commenting on other users’ posts as well. Take Etsy, for example. While it has a few boards promoting various products sold on Etsy.com, it also has boards that are simply for its followers’ enjoyment—no sales act required.
With the right strategy, your products or services will be front and center in the screens, and the minds, of your audience. Happy pinning!
Need to score an invite? Let us know in the comments—it’s a much faster process if you receive an invite versus self-applying And tell us—what successes have you had using Pinterest to help promote your business?
Niki comes to us from the financial world, but she’s an online girl at heart. After graduating from Cal, she spent a couple of years traveling and working (Ireland – NY – OC) before finally making it back to San Francisco to pursue a career in business and marketing. An avid fan of handwritten thank you notes, Niki also loves fresh flowers for any occasion, the sound of being underwater, and she firmly believes ketchup bottles do not belong on the breakfast table. When she’s not Musing, you can find her on her blog, wandering around the Ferry Building in San Francisco, or with her nose in a ridiculously addicting YA book.More from this Author